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Charles Barkley reveals his only regret “I should’ve been more aggressive”


A lot of players at the top of the NBA are convinced guys with more success around them aren’t better players; they are just in a better position. Charles Barkley thought that for years, feeling like the 76ers never put enough talent around him to really compete. “But when they gave me Dan Majerle and Kevin Johnson, I was like, ‘I can take on anybody now.’”

MVP season

Arriving in Phoenix, Barkley knew it was his time to shine. He grabbed the season by the horns, and the Suns stormed the regular season. Sir Charles was crowned MVP, and of course, his friend Michael Jordan didn’t agree with that decision. Looking back on it, Barkley stayed true to himself talking about MJ’s feelings.

“No. 1, he didn’t deserve it. We had the best record in the NBA. Michael should know better. There were years he was the best player in the NBA probably three years before he won MVP, but the Bulls team was no good. The MVP has always gone to the best player on the team with the best record. It has nothing to do with best player.”

Charles Barkley, USA Today

Chuck was happy about the MVP, but he came to Phoenix to win a title. Early in the season, the Suns had a game against the Bulls and got shellacked. The Bulls won by 17, and Barkley was furious after the game. He was tearing up the locker room, making it clear to his team that they need to raise their level of seriousness.” Guys, that’s the team we’re going to play in the [expletive] Finals. I know that [expletive] Michael Jordan. He sent me a message, ‘You better bring more next time.’ ‘told ya’ll we were going to play that team in the Finals and ya’ll are out here messing around. We’re not even on their level yet.

The Suns went on a 12 game winning streak after that and became a Finals caliber team. They had the talent, they had the teamwork, and most importantly, they had the confidence to face the Chicago Bulls. Well, at least they thought they did.

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Barkley's only regret

After winning 62 games and the no.1 spot in the Western Conference, the Suns dispatched the Lakers, Spurs, and Sonics on their way to the Bulls. The Suns had home-court advantage and a chance to take an important lead against Jordan, Pippen, and the crew.

“The only time I had a what-if is we had a lead in a game, but the Bulls then scored seven straight points to beat us. We called two timeouts to run a play for me. I remember Michael saying, ‘You’re not going to get the shot.’ I said, ‘You’re right.’ They doubled me both times and I had to pass it twice.”

Charles Barkley, USA Today

Barkley made the right basketball play, but the decision not to attack the double team and try to score always remained a what-if in his mind. He had two plays called for him, and Chuck didn’t even get a shot out of it. But, that’s not his one regret. While watching the Last Dance, Barkley noticed something MJ said. “He said, ‘I wasn’t ready to play in Game 1’ when the Bulls played the Lakers for his first championship [in 1991]. He said, ‘we were hyper; we were nervous and I was not ready.’”

Chuck recognized himself in that description. Barkley blames himself for not having his teammates ready for the FInals stage.

"I had been in big situations before. None of the other guys had been in big situations before. So I should’ve been really more aggressive in Game 1. But I had already developed a pattern in the playoffs. I wasn’t passive. But I tried to let the other guys get going when we played at home. It always worked, but it didn’t work in Game 1. So that was my fault."

Charles Barkley, USA Today

The Bulls won the series 4-2 and completed their first three-peat. Charles Barkley became one of the best players ever not to win an NBA title, and the only thing he regrets is not having his guys ready for the bright lights in Game 1.

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